Merkel express concerns over Rahman case

24th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 March 2006, BERLIN/BRUSSELS/KABUL - German Chancellor Angela Merkel telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai Thursday to express her concern about the case of an Afghan man who could be sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

24 March 2006

BERLIN/BRUSSELS/KABUL - German Chancellor Angela Merkel telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai Thursday to express her concern about the case of an Afghan man who could be sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

The trial of Abdul Rahman, who converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago and who has previously lived in Germany, has triggered growing criticism around the world.

In the meantime, Afghan Economics Minister Amin Farhang predicted in an interview with Cologne's daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger Friday that the case would collapse because the court had already questioned Rahman's mental stability.

But the judge, Ansarullah Maulawisada, also hit out at what he saw as international meddling in the case, insisting that the Afghan courts were independent. "We will follow our constitution, which is based on Islamic Sharia law," he said.

However, following her talk with Karzai, Merkel expressed cautious optimistic about the outcome of the case saying she had the impression that Afghanistan was committed to meeting its international obligations.

"I hope that we reach a solution," she said.

If, however, the court did rule in favour of the death sentence for Rahman it would be up to Karzai to impose the decision.

DPA

Subject: German news

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